Waqar Younis © Getty Images
Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach is making his strategies for next World Cup © Getty Images

Karachi: Sep 22, 2014

Although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is leaving no stone unturned to allow suspended off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal a chance to make a comeback to international cricket, the national selectors and head coach, Waqar Younis are already planning for the World Cups sans Ajmal.

“What happened is unfortunate and a big blow to the team. But we have to plan thinking Saeed could not be available for the World Cup,” Waqar said on Sunday.”I know Saeed is keen to make a comeback and is working hard on his action. Saqlain [Mushtaq] will also be helping him soon. One hopes he is back. But we have to look for a replacement as well,” the former test captain said. Saeed, 36, was suspended by the International Cricket Council this month from bowling in international cricket after he failed a biomechanics test in Brisbane.

The test concluded that Saeed’s elbow extension was well beyond the 15 degrees extension allowed by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Waqar, who took over as head coach only last month to see Saeed reported after the first test against Sri Lanka in Galle, said he would prefer to look for a younger replacement spinner.

“Someone who can serve Pakistan cricket for a long time,” he added. He also made it clear that bowlers in Pakistan now have to accept the new protocol for bowling actions by the ICC as there was going to be no let up. “They have to work on their actions accordingly.” Privately also the national selectors and Waqar don’t believe that Saeed can change his bowling action quickly enough to get cleared by the ICC and be available for Pakistan for the World Cup.

“The big question being asked is will he be as effective as he was before after remodeling his action,” one source said. . The source said already the national selectors which includes chief selector, Moin Khan who is also the national team manager have started preparations and homework for the coming series and the World Cup without Saeed in their plans.

“The selectors and Waqar are searching for replacements and they have a few bowlers in mind who could be tested out against Australia.” Leg spinner, Yasir Shah is top of the list to replace Saeed who has been Pakistan’s top wickettaker for the last two to three years. To complicate matters for Saeed who has started work on his bowling action at the national cricket academy in Lahore, the spin bowling coach of the national team, Mushtaq Ahmed and the head coach of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Muhammad Akram are not very pleased with the fact that the board has decided to fly in Saqlain from London to work with Saeed.

“Saqlain will reach Lahore on Monday to start work and his initial contract is for one month. If need arises it will be extended.” Saqlain apparently has advised the PCB that after a month Saeed should be sent for a private test and only after that should the PCB ask the ICC to test his bowling action again.

The hiring of Saqlain, a former Pakistan off-spinner who is credited with inventing the doosra delivery, apparently has left Mushtaq and Akram in an embarrassing position as despite being paid heavy salaries by the board and being given bowling expert portfolios their expertise has been ignored by the board. The PCB has however kept them on a four member committee formed to deal with the Ajmal rehabilitation process.